By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – From the dazzling mayhem of a 2008 Rio Carnival bloco, emerged a union of instrumental musicians operating by the name of ‘Orquestra Voadora,’ meaning the Flying Orchestra. Having exploded on to the radar significantly since then, this unique brass band are now playing gigs across Rio and Brazil throughout the year, attracting an ever increasing fan base with each new performance.
Even during Rio’s winter months, when the cooler weather often puts a dampener on the action, the group are preparing for a number of upcoming shows.
American expatriate Tim Malik, the group’s tuba player, takes a break with The Rio Times to talk about the band’s busy schedule that will see them traveling from Rio to Juiz de Fora (Minas Gerais state) and back again.
Malik explains “We love to travel and show our art to new audiences. It’s always fun to watch the process of discovery on the faces of people who have never seen us before.”
“People start out kind of shocked, like, whoa, what am I hearing and seeing? Then they start to move and dance and let go and by the end of the show they’re jumping around with us and they’re converted forever,” he describes.
Orquestra Voadora’s distinctive sound, which consists of trumpets, trombones, a baritone saxophone, the tuba and a selection of percussion instruments, has been shaped and nurtured by a number of different influences, ensuring that the music remains innovative and appealing to a wider audience looking for something varied and unusual.
Malik describes the sound as “a selection of Brazilian styles like samba and maracatu, mixed with a heavy dose of funk and rock and roll.” He adds, “We also take cues from other international styles like afrobeat and Balkan music.”
Although the band now performs for audiences outside of Rio, it is the Carnival city where they first made their mark that remains close to their hearts.
Malik reveals, “I love playing in Rio. Cariocas love something different and I think our festive energy works well here. People really let loose and that’s a big part of the experience of our show.”
When not playing gigs, these days the group can be found in the studio recording tracks for their debut album due to be released later this year and of course, planning something big for Carnival 2013 that will top last year’s incredible performance.
Malik admits, “We’re always looking for creative ways to throw a party of that (2012) scale while preserving the spirit of a street performance. It’s a challenge, but it will be our fifth carnival and we’ve learned a lot from the other years. I think we’re starting to get the hang of it.”
For those who haven’t seen the band in action, Orquestra Voadora will be playing Friday July 27th, at Lapa’s Fundição Progresso, closing for MPB star Alceu Valença. A performance which Malik promises will be “huge and an honor for us to be part of the evening.”
For more information on the band, and upcoming gigs visit the website www.orquestravoadora.com.br.